Sexuality Education key to gender inclusive schools

Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) is key to gender responsive and socially inclusive schools, says Basic Education DDG, Dr Granville Whittle.

The DDG was speaking on Monday during a two-day Colloquium on Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) under the theme, 'The key to gender responsive and socially inclusive education'.

The colloquium is being hosted by the Department of Basic Education at the CSIR Conference Centre in Brummeria, Pretoria.

The CSE has been part of the curriculum since the year 2000, with the only change being that in 2015, the department developed the Scripted Lesson Plans (SLPs).

The core aims of the CSE and its SLPs are to ensure that learners build an understanding of concepts, content, values and attitudes related to sexuality, sexual behaviour change, as well as leading safe and healthy lives.

Whittle said one of the pillars in the Care and Support for Teaching and Learning Framework highlights the need for every child, irrespective of background, identity, circumstances and character, to enjoy the right to education within socially inclusive and cohesive schools.

The DDG emphasised that the discussions at the colloquium are anchored firmly on this pillar.

“As a country and the sector, we have engaged at great length over the necessity of CSE. As such, today we are not reopening those discussions because they are closed.

“Legislation and policy mandates of the DBE and the broader government fully endorse the delivery of CSE in Life Orientation.

“The purpose and vision of this colloquium is rather to comprehensively discuss the nuanced elements that are linked to CSE. These include bullying, gender-based violence (GBV), parental responses, gendered responses and practices, gender and sexuality inclusion, and responding to the CSE and SRHR [Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights] needs of children with disability,” he said.

The DDG expressed excitement at the presentations at the symposium focusing on learners with special education needs.

“All of these are elements that lie dormant within our schools and communities, yet have a significant contribution towards HIV and early unintended pregnancies,” he said.

Whittle said he was most certain that the correct minds were in the room to help the sector to forge forward, and provide research-based evidence to the complexities of CSE and gender responsive education practice.

Source: South African Government News Agency